Audio Visual Design Guidelines

Hardware Considerations

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Media Players

All digital signage systems require signage media players to present signage content.

Media players common features and considerations:

  • Stores current content playlist and schedule for playback to digital signage endpoint
  • May be onboard to flat panel display, or stand-alone device
  • Media player device common features:
    • Onboard hard drive, SD card slot, or USB port
    • Ethernet or WiFi network connectivity
    • Digital video output (HDMI, DVI, Displayport, et al) to connect flat panel display or projector
    • Audio output to speakers
    • General purpose input-output (GPIO) contact closure for remote trigger of content (ie Push button to start playlist “Welcome to Campus”)
    • Serial control interface port (eg RS232) for automation control of flat panel display or projector
    • Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface port (interactive touch display, or keyboard & mouse)
  • May be integrated as part of a digital signage network Content Management System, or stand-alone onboard content management
  • May integrate with building warning and alarm systems (Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System trigger)

Display Types – Small to Medium Format Flat Panel Displays

All digital signage systems require displays to present signage content. Flat panel displays are the most common display type used for digital signage, and may be deployed indoors or outdoors.

Common digital signage applications for flat panel displays:

  • General information, messages, and advertising
  • Kiosks (wayfinding, information directory, et al)
  • Touch tables
  • Interactive touch screen content
  • Room booking and calendar information
  • Menu-boards

Flat panel displays common features and considerations:

    • Must be rated for continuous, uninterrupted 24/7 or 16/7 operation
    • Manufacturer’s name and logo must be hidden
    • Must support mounting in portrait or landscape orientation
    • Must feature third party control capability (RS232, Ethernet / LAN)
    • May feature onboard digital signage media player
    • Flat panel display technology options:
      • LCD technology:
        • Image sizes from 10” to 100”
        • Prevalent and cost-effective display technology
        • Flat image surfaces only
        • Image quality satisfactory for digital signage applications
        • Large market with many manufacturers

 

  • OLED technology:

 

        • Image sizes from 32” to 65”
        • Display technology susceptible to “burn-in”
        • Emerging technology at a cost premium
        • Flexible display surface options (curved, flexible)
        • Highest quality image contrast of all flat panel display technologies
        • Limited, but growing number of manufacturers

 

  • ePaper technology:

 

      • Image sizes from 10” to 32”
      • Ideal for semi-static, grey-scale content
      • May be battery-powered
      • Ongoing cost saving through low power consumption
      • Limited number of manufacturers

Display Types – Video Wall Arrays

Multiple flat panel displays may be arranged together to make a video wall array. They are typically deployed indoors.

Common digital signage applications for video wall arrays:

  • Main entrances, atriums, and lobbies
  • Menu-boards
  • Exhibitions

Video wall array common features and considerations:

  • Must utilise flat panel displays specifically designed for video wall array applications:
    • Thin bezel (0mm – 3mm)
    • 24/7 operation
    • Framerate synchronization
    • Colour-balancing
    • Must feature third party control capability (RS232, Ethernet / LAN)
  • Typical individual flat panel display sizes:
    • 46” 16:9
    • 55” 16:9
  • Be aware there is no standard composition for video wall equipment. Installation and design methods differ between manufacturers
    • May be in standard video wall arrays (2×2, 3×3, 4×4, et al), or flexible freeform arrangements
    • Standard video wall arrays may utilise flat panel displays with onboard video wall features including daisy-chaining, scaling, and framerate synchronisation
    • Freeform video wall arrays may utilise a video wall processor or windowing processor for flexible image orientation and positioning
  • Bezel considerations:
    • Bezel size, and the gap between viewable images may impact readability and continuity of content across multiple displays
    • Bezel compensation features may be employed to give the illusion that content is hidden behind the bezel, or continues on the adjacent pixels of the adjacent flat panel display
    • Some manufacturers feature bezel designs that change colour to match the average hue of the signage content to hide the visual impact of the bezel

Table – Standard Video Wall Arrays Dimensions – 46-inch

The below table is a reference and guideline for total estimated width and height of any given video wall array composed of 46-inch flat panel displays up to 6×6.

Rows/

Columns

123456
1W 1025mm, H 580mmW 2050mm, H 580mmW 3075mm, H 580mmW 4100mm, H 580mmW 5125mm, H 580mmW 6150mm, H 580mm
2W 1025mm, H 1160mmW 2050mm, H 1160mmW 3075mm, H 1160mmW 4100mm, H 1160mmW 5125mm, H 1160mmW 6150mm, H 1160mm
3W 1025mm, H 1740mmW 2050mm, H 1740mmW 3075mm, H 1740mmW 4100mm, H 1740mmW 5125mm, H 1740mmW 6150mm, H 1740mm
4W 1025mm, H 2320mmW 2050mm, H 2320mmW 3075mm, H 2320mmW 4100mm, H 2320mmW 5125mm, H 2320mmW 6150mm, H 2320mm
5W 1025mm, H 2900mmW 2050mm, H 2900mmW 3075mm, H 2900mmW 4100mm, H 2900mmW 5125mm, H 2900mmW 6150mm, H 2900mm
6W 1025mm, H 3480mmW 2050mm, H 3480mmW 3075mm, H 3480mmW 4100mm, H 3480mmW 5125mm, H 3480mmW 6150mm, H 3480mm

Table – Standard Video Wall Arrays Dimensions – 55-inch

The below table is a reference and guideline for total estimated width and height of any given video wall array composed of 55-inch flat panel displays up to 6×6.

Rows/

Columns

123456
1W 1215mm

H 685mm

W 2430mm, H 685mm W 3645mm, H 685mm W 4860mm, H 685mm W 6075mm, H 685mm W 7290mm, H 685mm
2W 1215mm, H 1370mm W 2430mm, H 1370mm W 3645mm, H 1370mm W 4860mm, H 1370mm W 6075mm, H 1370mm W 7290mm, H 1370mm
3W 1215mm, H 2055mm W 2430mm, H 2055mm W 3645mm, H 2055mm W 4860mm, H 2055mm W 6075mm, H 2055mm W 7290mm, H 2055mm
4W 1215mm, H 2740mm W 2430mm, H 2740mm W 3645mm, H 2740mm W 4860mm, H 2740mm W 6075mm, H 2740mm W 7290mm, H 2740mm
5W 1215mm, H 3425mm W 2430mm, H 3425mm W 3645mm, H 3425mm W 4860mm, H 3425mm W 6075mm, H 3425mm W 7290mm, H 3425mm
6W 1215mm, H 4110mm W 2430mm, H 4110mm W 3645mm, H 4110mm W 4860mm, H 4110mm W 6075mm, H 4110mm W 7290mm, H 4110mm

 

Display Types – LED Video Walls

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) display technology is commonly used for large-format (10sqm and greater) display surfaces, and may be deployed indoors or outdoors.

LED video walls are designed and built to the project requirements. While there is great variance of methods and technology among LED manufacturers, there are some commonplace guidelines that can be employed during the planning phase.

Common digital signage applications for LED video walls:

  • Main entrances, atriums, and lobbies
  • Roadside signage
  • Building facade signage

Typical LED video wall equipment composition:

  • Installed at signage display location:
    • LED display cabinet
    • Mounting system
  • Installed within equipment rack:
    • LED controllers
    • Remote power supply
    • Video scaler / processor
    • Digital signage media player

LED video walls common features and considerations:

    • A LED video wall is an array of physical pixels (LEDs) that represent the individual pixels in digital images, text, and video
    • LED display cabinet must be front-serviceable if the LED video wall is mounted to a wall or bulkhead surface
    • An image is downscaled if the number of LEDs is less than the number of pixels in the digital source image. This may be especially impactful to the readability of text and detailed content
    • Pixel pitch is the distance between LED physical pixels. Ideal pixel pitch is determined by minimum intended viewing distance:
      • Given D is minimum intended viewing distance in metres (m)
      • Given P is recommended pixel pitch in millimetres (mm)
      • P = D x 2

 

  • Example: If minimum viewing distance is 6m, the recommended pixel pitch is 3mm

 

    • Total resolution of a LED video wall is calculated as follows:
      • Given W is the video wall surface width millimetres (mm)
      • Given H is the video wall surface height millimetres (mm)
      • Given P is the pixel pitch in millimetres (mm)
      • Given L is the LED video wall resolution (total number of LEDs)
      • L = (W / P) * (H / P)

 

  • Example: If the video wall dimensions are 3840mm x 2880mm and the pixel pitch is 3.5mm, the resolution is 1097 x 822 (902,792 pixels, close to 720p image)

 

  • LED video wall resolutions don’t always match exactly to standard display resolutions (720p, 1080p, WXGA, et al)
  • Brightness and luminance:
    • LED video walls can produce images with a luminance brightness of between 2,000 to 14,000 Nits
    • LED street lighting and outdoor video walls are the primary cause of light pollution worldwide
    • The brightness of the LED video wall should be adjusted accordingly to the ambient lux of the signage location and time of day
    • The LED video wall is commonly set to 1-5% brightness during nighttime operation

Display Types – Projection

Projection is commonly used for large-format (5sqm and greater) signage applications, and may be deployed indoors or outdoors.

Common digital signage applications for projection:

  • Main entrances, atriums, and lobbies
  • On floor signage
  • On ceiling signage
  • Building facade signage and projection mapping

Projection common features and considerations:

  • Projection has more flexibility for installation than other signage display types:
    • May be front projection onto projection surface
    • May be rear projection from behind projection surface
    • May be projected onto floor, ceiling, stairs, and other non-flat or non-vertical surfaces
    • Projected image light may be reflected off mirrors (if projector and equipment is hidden)
  • Digital signage displays are more susceptible to the impacts of natural light, and projected images may look washed-out or faded in areas exposed to high ambient light levels
  • Estimated Lux and Nits of a projected image is calculated as follows:
    • Given S is the projected image surface area in square metres (sqm)
    • Given L is the projector ansi lumens rating in
    • Given X is the projected image illuminance in Lux
    • Given N is the projected image luminance in Nits
    • X = L / S
    • N = X / 3.14
    • Example: With a 8,000 lumens projector producing a projected image of 4.65sqm (130” 16:9), the resulting illuminance is 1,720 Lux and luminance is 547 Nits
  • Projector stacking:
    • Projector stacking is a projection technique whereby two or more projectors are used to create the same projected image. This technique can be used to mitigate some of the disadvantages of projection (ie ambient light, blocked light paths, et al)
    • Projector stacking provides a level of redundancy if one projector stops working
    • The brightness of a projected image may be increased by double-stacking projectors. The resulting brightness is the sum of all projected images produced by the projectors
    • Any shadows created by blocking a projected image light path (whether by objects, or people) may be mitigated by shooting at the projection surface from multiple angles
    • One important disadvantage of projector stacking is that it may be prone to image alignment issues
  • Edge-blending:
    • Projected image may be expanded across multiple projectors (similar to a video wall array)
    • Edge-blending is an image processing technique that softens (feathers) the overlapping edges of projected images to give the illusion of a seamless large projected image
    • Edge-blending may be achieved through software (content created with overlap zones), or hardware (video wall processor, onboard projector feature)
  • Consider the light path from the projector lens to the projected image and surface. Any obstructions that block the light path should be avoided or removed

Weather and Environmental Exposure

If the signage endpoint is located partially outdoors or exposed to weather and environmental impacts in anyway the following measures may be employed:

  • House digital signage equipment within an IP66 rated enclosure to protect from dust and water
  • Protect power and data outlets within an IP66 rated enclosure to protect from dust and water
  • As a minimum, equipment shall be rated IP51
  • As a minimum, equipment operating temperature shall be 0-50 degrees celsius
  • Where possible, equipment shall be covered by warranty if subject to damage from weather and environmental effects

Natural Light and Image Brightness

If the signage endpoint is located in an area exposed to natural light the following measures may be employed:

  • Measure the ambient Lux for the area where the digital signage endpoint will be deployed
  • Deploy high-brightness flat panel displays (800 Nits or greater)
  • Deploy LED video walls with standard high brightness (2,000 to 14,000 Nits)
  • Do not deploy
  • Avoid installation of digital signage equipment where it may be exposed to direct sunlight
  • Avoid positioning digital signage endpoints where sunlight directly shines on, or reflects onto the viewable image surface
  • Install awnings, shrouds or other shade structures to avoid sunlight impacting the digital signage equipment or viewable image

Mounting, Enclosures, Environment, and Locations

Digital signage endpoints are commonly installed in areas accessible to the general public. The integrity and security of the mounting and enclosures is vital to mitigate risks of injury, vandalism, and damage to structures or equipment.

Common best-practice and considerations for digital signage mounting and enclosures:

  • General considerations:
    • Calculate the total weight of all digital signage endpoints (display, brackets, digital signage media players)
    • The vertical viewing angle from intended viewing position to the centre of the digital signage display be no greater than 15-degrees
    • The horizontal viewing angle from intended viewing position to the centre of the digital signage display be no greater than 45-degrees
    • Ensure all digital signage media players, cabling, and accessories are fixed in place and hidden from view
    • Touch-interactive portion of the content must be at heights between 900mm and 1200mm above finished floor level
    • Touch-interactive digital signage endpoints must not have any obstructions directly in front of the display that may block wheelchair access
    • The digital signage endpoint including any mounting and enclosures must not obstruct the path of travel
    • If the digital signage endpoint is located in an area accessible to the general public, consider the following measures:
      • Use vandal-proof mounting hardware and brackets
      • Install equipment at 2.5m or higher
      • Install equipment within vandal-proof enclosure
      • Install remote-monitoring components such as IP cameras, tamper sensors and alarms, et al
    • Environment where the digital signage endpoint is installed:
      • The temperature should remain constant
      • The humidity should remain constant
      • Avoid installation locations where any vibrations caused by vehicles, foot traffic, or equipment may damage digital signage equipment
      • Air quality should be free of any dust that may impact the equipment performance
      • The digital signage endpoint should not be in the sun path
  • Wall mounted signage endpoints:
    • Ensure the wall is structurally sound for the wall mounted components. Install structural reinforcement if necessary
    • Ensure the mounting brackets and hardware are rated for the size and weight of the display
    • Use tilt or articulating arm brackets to angle the display towards the intended viewing position / zone
    • If the digital signage display is installed into a wall recess, ensure the recess is of sufficient size with clearance to the edge of the digital signage display for ventilation purposes. Allow at least 80mm clearance from the edge of the display to the edge of the wall recess
  • Ceiling mounted signage endpoints:
    • If installing mounting hardware to concrete sofit, ensure all penetrations and anchor points are coordinated with the building structural engineer
    • If installing mounting hardware onto truss, or other structural elements, ensure those elements will support the total weight of the digital signage endpoint components
    • Ensure the mounting brackets and hardware are rated for the size and weight of the display
    • Angle the display towards the intended viewing position / zone
    • If the back of the display is visible and prominent, consider fixing a back box to hide any cabling and devices
  • Floor standing enclosures (ie kiosks and touch tables):
    • Ensure the enclosure and base plate is fixed to the floor surface and will not topple if pushed or if someone leans against it
    • Ensure the enclosure has sufficient ventilation to avoid overheating
  • Embedded displays (lifts, vending machines, furniture):
    • Ensure the enclosure has sufficient ventilation to avoid overheating

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